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Saturday, September 12, 2009
Mailbag: Reviewing Titans-Steelers

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


This is an unbalanced mailbag, I know. All I can do is answer what I find in there, so you can help change it.

Gabe in Spokane, WA writes: What's up Paul. I've been reading your posts for awhile now and I'm a big colts fan. Though I'm not from the midwest that's where my passion lies. There for I have high hopes for a team with relatively the same team as last year. There is talk of the loss of Marv and Tony. But thinking about what we have seen say with the Steelers and their loss of bill Cowher and Bettis and Tomlin taking them to the super bowl title I would say that this looks like the same situation in Indy. Peyton looks sharper than ever and our surgical approach to offense and a sound cover 2 base system with the same players and the hopeful addition of bobby sanders looks like we have the same pieces as we did in 2006 when we won the 'ship. What are your expectations for this season? Just a quick blurb considering you're the guy with the most info! Thanks and keep bringing the noise!

Paul Kuharsky: Appreciate the kind words, Gabe. Please keep reading.

Interesting comparison to the Steelers that may prove accurate.

I think the Colts are better at virtually every position and will be a playoff team. I envision the AFC South coming right down to the end between them and the Titans.


Bill Smith in NASHVILLE, TN writes: Paul, I agree with you on earning your own respect. However, I am looking forward to the day when Peyton is out of the division and all analysts can look at the four small market AFC South teams objectively. He has earned it and Indy will be good as long as he is healthy, but if anyone beats them or finishes ahead of them many pundits feel it was a fluke instead of a possible trend. WAR THE SINGLET!!!!!

Paul Kuharsky: Good to hear from you Bill.

The Colts have won the division every year but two since realignment, and those two years were six years apart. Where is the trend in that?

Thanks for listening to "The Wake Up Zone" in Nashville.


Adam Hardebeck in Knoxville, Tenn., writes: Hey Paul, After following quite a lot of postgame talk about last night's game, it seems that the consensus is that Pittsburgh played bad football and still came out on top. Not much credit has been given to Jeff Fisher's squad for taking the Super Bowl Champs to OT on the road after playing 6 games over the past month. People seem to have forgotten that the Titans went 13-3 last year and are returning most of their starters this year. To me, it seemed that Tennessee lost the game more than Pittsburgh won it. Why does it seem that the Titans still have a lot to prove to the national media?

Paul Kuharsky: I disagree completely. Virtually everything I have heard or read credited the Titans for showing great toughness and grit and nearly pulling it off. They inflicted a lot of their trouble on themselves and still had several chances to win it. I actually think it was a loss that gained them respect, despite what I wrote before the game.

No matter any of that though, the standing don't include columns for the categories you are talking about. I disagree with your assessment -- the Steelers impressively drove to a score to tie and a score to win. And the W deservedly belongs to them.


Jeff in Nashvegas writes: PK, it just seems like the Titans have a hard time finishing big games that go down to the wire. Dating back to the Ravens loss in 2000, it feels like they don't have an answer to a big momentum change and they ultimately lose the game.

Paul Kuharsky: The way things played out in Pittsburgh felt a lot like the Baltimore playoff game for sure.

But that's three games you mention, and two of them happen to be the last two they played. I think that might be skewing your thinking.

The New England playoff game in the 2003 season could also probably fit in the category. Four games over nine years does not a trend make, though. Have any more?

Sticking with your time frame, I can think of several strong finishes in big games, too: The Joe Nedney field goal game against the Steelers in the 2002 playoffs, Steve McNair's incredible comeback game at the Giants in 2002, a playoff win at Baltimore with a Gary Anderson field goal at the end in the 2003 season and the remarkable fourth-quarter comeback win against the Giants in Nashville in 2006.

Don't those qualify on the other side of the ledger and offset your claim?